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The Bezier Pen tool in QuarkXPress 8 has been dramatically simplified and now behaves very much like the Pen tool in Adobe applications. With a few fluid motions, you can draw just about any shape imaginable. If you prefer a less structured approach to drawing, you can use the Freehand tool. If you can't draw at all, you can convert text or basic shapes to editable items that you can even fill with an image or text. First, we'll look at how to use the Freehand tool to scribble out a line and then we'll explore the Bezier Pen tool to create smooth lines. You'll find the Bezier Pen tool right here in the toolbox. If you click-and-hold on it, you'll notice that there are several options to work with related to the Bezier Pen tool.
There is the Bezier Pen tool, which lets you add and remove points and create new lines. There is the Add Point tool, the Remove Point tool, the Convert Point tool, from sharp to curvy, the Scissors tool for cutting paths, the Select Point tool that lets you adjust paths very easily and the Freehand Drawing tool that we're about to see. The Freehand Drawing tool works very much like a pencil. You simply click-and-drag to make the shape you're interested in. When you let go, Quark converts it into a nice smooth Bezier path.
Now because this is just a standard QuarkXPress path, you can do everything to it that you could do to any other path: you can give it a nice thick stroke of any color and you can even type text on the path, just double-click the path and begin typing. Now if you're like me and your freehand skills are fairly limited, you might want to use the Pen tool to draw nice smooth shapes in a more structured way. I'll move this shape out of the way for now and we'll create a new Bezier pen path.
I'm going to click on the Bezier Pen tool. Once you have the Bezier Pen tool, you can just click, click, click, click to create straight line segments. When you get back to the beginning, it will automatically connect the beginning and the end if you click on your first point. This can be really handy if you're trying to create a random object for text run-around. If you need to make a line that's got some smooth curves in it, you just use the Pen tool and click-and-drag. As you drag, you notice these handles appear. As you click again and drag, more handles appear.
The anchor point indicates a change point and the handles determine the angle and the shape of the curve. I'll click again here and now we have a nice wavy line. If you want to convert an anchor point to a corner point, just hold down the Option or Alt key and click on it. If you want to move a point while you're using the Pen tool, just hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key on Windows and click-and-drag. Now if you don't want to remember the Option key, the Alt key, the Command key or the Ctrl key, you can always go back to the Pen set and choose the Convert Point tool to convert a smooth point to a corner point or vice versa.
You can choose the Select Point tool to click-and-drag points into new locations. Now what if you want to add or remove a point from a path? You can either use one of these two tools to do it or if you're still using the Pen tool, you can simply click on a segment to add a point. You see how the little plus sign appears next to the pen cursor? When I click, a new point is made. Now notice it turns to a minus. That's because, if I click on a point with my Pen tool, I can remove it. Now there is one more function available, Select Point tool, i.e., if you have a point on your path, as I showed you before, you can click-and-drag it to move it, but notice on this particular point that the two control handles are not equal.
If you want to make this into a symmetric curve point, just Option-click or Alt-click on it with this tool. I'm holding down the Option key and clicking and notice how it makes that point nice and smooth again. The final tool to look at in the Pen tool set is the Scissors tool. With the Scissors tool, you simply click on a path to cut it. Now we have two paths we can work with. I'm extremely impressed with how Quark has improved the usability of the Bezier Pen tools, which have actually been available in QuarkXPress since version 4. These tools are useful not only for creating paths like this but also for editing existing objects on your page such as text that you've converted into boxes or any other shape that you've made.
You can use the Pen tool to draw interesting shapes on your existing layouts or you can create a brand-new little layout, make your shapes on it and save it in EPS or PDF format for use in other programs.
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